Here I am

Families and newlyweds used to cull through proofs, wait weeks and pay photographers thousands of dollars to get a collection of mementos from their treasured event. Today, online printing services like Mixbook make it much easier to arrange photos in beautiful bound albums. 

When I take pictures, I usually send my clients a flash drive of digital images within a few days. Sometimes they order their own prints. For those who are short on time or want a designer's eye, I love designing collections.

Below is the cover and first page of a farewell gift for a longtime New York City pastor from her congregation. The cover image is mine.

Everybody needs an editor

Next year Apple’s iPhone will turn 10. What a difference a decade can make! Websites lovingly built with Dreamweaver five years ago are looking like state-of-the-art kitchens from the 70s. Suddenly everybody needs a redesign.

In this environment I've been learning about new careers like information architecture, content strategy and user experience design. And I’ve been welcomed into new communities, like the Society for Technical Communication.

STC’s Philadelphia Metro Chapter hired me to photograph its annual regional conference this past weekend. I also volunteered to upgrade the group’s print brochure, handing them something that isn’t quite so—well—technical.

Note to self re: creativity

By nature, creativity is indulgent. It requires excess—extra time, extra effort, materials to burn. The resources don't need to be extravagant but they must be expendable. Embarking on a creative venture with a conservative mindset is like rationing sand at the beach. It’s counterproductive and unnecessary.

If you can’t be careless with the materials at your disposal, trade them in for some that matter less. Start painting on scrap wood—or on paper. Write in the wee hours of the morning or when you’re traveling and can ignore other demands on your time.

Your resources must feel worthless because you’re going to be wasting a lot of them. Spending listless hours in the studio. Forgetting to turn the mic on. Blowing up ceramics in the kiln. Accidentally deleting the best part. 

These failures are not altogether bad. In dying, each lost piece creates the vision for a flawless outcome that lives on in your imagination. It teaches a testy balance between anxious care and disgusted carelessness.

Set out to regain what was lost, if you like, but don’t try too hard to retrace the steps of your last mistake. Each piece pulls toward its own destiny and comes with its own potential for success and failure. One frustrated dream can birth a whole family of promise. 

Diptych, December 2015. Old color prints altered with saved vinyl lettering and stickers as I was preparing to move to Philadelphia.

The 12 We Love

Logo design for a sermon series at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church (Lancaster, Pa.) featuring the 12 Bible verses most often named as favorites in a 2013 survey of that congregation.